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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Sonia, Apr 29, 2008.
Rhode island reds are great layers of brown eggs and can be a good sized roaster check this out, it tells you what size eggs, what color, and what the breeds are:
Thank you for the link.
If someone actually twisted my arm and *made* me choose 1 breed, which somehow I can't imagine, but if it happened, I'd probably choose buff orpingtons.
Not to sound dumb...I really want your opinion....why would you choose them over the other breeds? (Looking around a bit I was leaning that way myself anyway)
RIR's or Plymouth Rocks are probably the quintessential chicken. They are great all around creatures who have been around so long because they are productive and vigorous.
With that said, no "dual purpose" chicken is very good for meat. "Dual Purpose" equates to "better to eat than a Leghorn" which isn't a compliment. Pick a breed you like, then do crops of broilers annually and freeze if you want your own chickens for meat.
Finally, pick the breed which is prettiest to you. You are going to be looking at them every single day for many many years to come.
Orpingtons are pretty good layers, pretty large and have an above average brooding instinct. Do I would say some orps (and colorwise i'd say go with buff).
I agree with Greyfield's, but I'll add my own two cents in the form of a breakdown of a few of the dual purpose breeds (based on my experience; your mileage may vary):
1) Orpingtons: Very popular right now, largely because they are big, fluffy, gentle and good-tempered, but don't let the good folks fool you--they really don't lay that well. I've had them from three different sources, and they never came close to my RIRs or my Delawares. I finally stopped raising them because the feed to egg ratio was too poor, and I don't process that much. They do dress out well, though. So if you lean toward either pet or meat they're the way to go.
2) Rhode Island or New Hampshire Reds: Eggs-o-rama. They lay the best of the dual purpose breeds, especially the non-show varieties of RIR, so if eggs are your interest, you might consider them seriously. I keep a few RIRs just to lay eggs. Mine are "smart" for a chicken and very, very friendly, but that's unusual for a RIR. The roos can be mean.
3) Plymouth Rocks: Reliable at everything and great at nothing, they are just a good solid farm chicken with a nice disposition. They make good pets, and the show-quality birds of the barred variety are stunning to look at. The common white ones make for easy dressing out during processing and can be quite pretty themselves if bred well.
4) Delaware: Ditto Plymouth Rocks, except they lay a bit better. I'd say right between a Rock and a Red, which accurately reflects their pedigree. They also have the advantage of white feathers for easy dressing and a nice, clean carcass. Plus, heritage lines are really rare, so if you can find some, you can say you're raising a rare, heritage breed. Some hatchery lines have a good bit of production red in them, from what I've gathered, and they can lay almost as well but can also have the mean roos.
Again, this is my experience, but I do think it pretty much agrees with the Henderson chart for the most part.
Well, I have found them to be gentle/mellow and sweet; they are not small birds (You wouldn't starve if you had to serve one, I don't think.); they set well; and while Coopist hasn't had good luck with their egg laying, I've had excellent luck with them laying consistently large sized brown eggs over the past 20 years.
That said, I did get chicks one year, from a feed store, which grew into poor quality buffs. But the one's I've gotten through Murray McMurray's have always been terrific.
Mind you, if you gave me 3 choices, I'd throw barred rocks in there, and black Australorps. They are all good sized birds, are all calm in general, will all set....at least mine have, and all lay nice, large eggs, regularly. (Wasn't an egg laying record holder an Australorp? Hmmmm, I think so, but my memory may be playing tricks on me.)
And, they are pretty, I think. I like a pretty flock to look at.